'Deeply Evil' Billionaire Gets Death Penalty

Liu Han yells out in court: 'I was framed'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2014 12:28 PM CDT
'Deeply Evil' Billionaire Gets Death Penalty

Two Chinese brothers have been convicted of murder and running a "mafia-style" gang over two decades—and they'll pay the price with their lives. Billionaire Liu Han, 48, and his brother were leaders of a 36-person gang charged with at least eight murders, Chinese media report, per the New York Times. Liu owned one of the largest enterprises in southwest China, the Washington Post adds, and the brothers amassed a business empire worth some $6.4 billion in sometimes less than savory ways, it was alleged: Xinhua reports Liu Han "awarded bonuses to the lieutenants who did his evil bidding" and "bought political capital and built a 'protective umbrella' through bribery."

The People's Intermediary Court did not mince words in announcing the sentence: "Liu Han and Liu Wei were deeply evil. Their means were extremely cruel, their impact on society was extremely bad." As for the significance and implications of the sentence, the Post notes that it shows "the seriousness of President Xi Jinping’s anti-graft campaign as well as the sometimes blurry line between crime and business among some of China’s elite." BBC China Editor Carrie Gracie adds that Liu Han reportedly has ties to former security chief Zhou Yongkang, and says the case could lead to charges against him. Should a trial come to pass, he would be the highest-ranking leader involved in a political corruption case since the Communist Party took power. (More murder stories.)

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